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Interpret Weekly China Entertainment

The latest news on entertainment in China, courtesy of your friends here at Interpret LLC. 

Articles are long, our summaries are short.

Marvel Studios

Tianma Yinglian Entertainment / Oriental Pictures

Viacom 18 Motion Pictures / Matchbox Pictures

Film News

China Box Office: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Smashes Records with $330M Opening
The past week witnessed a cultural phenomenon in China where millions of moviegoers strive to be the first to watch a 3-hour storytelling. Marvel Studio’s Avengers: Endgame opened with a record-shattering $330.5 million for the first five days – the largest weekly gross ever in China’s thriving market, topping previous record holder, 2017’s Wolf Warrior 2 which raked in $323 million its second week. Endgame took a juggernaut 95% market share in the Middle Kingdom in its opening week. Local audiences gave the film a stellar 8.8/10 rating on review aggregator Douban and 9.1/10 on ticketing platform Maoyan. Other records set by Endgame include:

  • Largest opening day and single day: $83 million
  • Largest single day market share: 98.7%
  • Largest 7-day market share: 95.0%
  • Largest single-day screening share: 82.7%
  • Fastest to milestones RMB 2 billion ($297 million), RMB 1.5 billion ($223 million), RMB 1 billion ($149 million)
  • Largest pre-sale: $110 million
  • Largest midnight preview showing: $28 million
  • Widest midnight preview opening: 39,600 screens

By no doubt, the Marvel mega-tentpole will dethrone The Fate of the Furious ($393 million) to become the biggest non-local film in China ever. Remember, May 1st to 4th is China’s 4-day Labor Day holiday, during which the Avengers assembly should enjoy a boon.

New Releases: ‘Godzilla’ May 31, ‘Dark Phoenix’ June 6
Warner Bros/Legendary’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters confirmed a theatrical release in China for May 31st, day-and-date with North America. Starring Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, the film would be the sequel to 2014’s Godzilla, which earned a decent $77.6 million in China.
20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix will debut on June 6th, one day before its US/Canada launch. Intended as the final installment in the core X-Men franchise, the film is a direct sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse, which earned $120.7 million in China in 2016.
Elsewhere, Sony/Columbia’s MIB: International is reported to secure a day-and-date release on June 14. Universal/Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 and Amblin/Alibaba Picture’s A Dog’s Journey have both passed censorship and will announce release dates soon.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Full Movie Hits Piracy Networks 
Although Avengers: Endgame managed to sell out theaters across the globe, those who missed out didn’t have to wait long for a chance to watch at home. The first pirated recordings started popping up across torrent sites mere hours after the Chinese premiere. Though poor in quality, the recordings have exacerbated spoiler-rich content throughout the web.

Fan Bingbing Made Her First Reappearance Months After Tax Scandal
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing was one of the hardest hit public figures during last year’s crackdown on illicit tax scandals across the entertainment industry. Since being found guilty of fraud and paying more than $100 million in government penalties, the actress has generally hidden herself from the public eye. However, she is seemingly signaling a planned comeback with her red carpet attendance at video streaming giant iQiyi 9th anniversary gala this week, just prior to announcing the launch of a line of her own beauty products through social media.

Gaming News

Qualcomm joins Tencent and Vivo on new AI initiative for mobile gaming
Leading microchip developer Qualcomm is reportedly working with gaming’s Tencent and telecom’s Vivo on a new initiative dubbed Project Imagination with the goal of staying at the forefront of mobile AI technology. Their new AI tech will be tested through Tencent’s monster MOBA hit Arena of Valor. Furthermore, Vivo has plans for an eSports team composed entirely of AI players. With rumors circulating of an under wraps gaming-focused smartphone from Tencent, could this partnership be a precursor to bigger announcements?

Policy & Law

Chinese Authorities Smashed Fake Lego Ring
China-based Lego-copycat Lepin may have built their last brick. A government raid on the company’s Shenzen factory found more than $30 million in counterfeit goods that were directly copied from Lego blueprints. In all, 4 arrests have been made so far, and the company has officially acknowledged the government’s demand to cease production of further products.

Industry News

Discovery Partners With CMC for China Theme Centers
Chinese media conglomerate CMC Inc. has announced a joint-venture with American TV group Discovery to develop a line of theme parks across China. Also teased were educational subscription models aimed at children age 2-5 to instill excitement for the sciences at a young age through “virtual, physical, online and offline experiences” similar to the experiences found at Disneyland Shanghai’s Camp Discovery.

TikTok China Initiated Ambitious Vlog Campaign
TikTok China is putting a hard focus on attracting vloggers to the platform as a way to increase screenshare. After increasing the single video time limit for all users to 1 minute (up from just 15 seconds!), an accompanying campaign was launched encouraging users to take advantage of such features. Between April 25 and May 8, any users who upload videos of 30 second or longer and include the proper hashtag will be entered into a platform-wide competition with traffic reward prizes – gifts of up to one billion “views” by TikTok.

Television News

China’s Streaming Giants Seek South East Asia Expansion
In a surprising first, Chinese video streaming giant iQiyi has announced plans to expand its services outside of Greater China. President Yang Xianghua revealed intentions to begin dedicated video-on-demand (VoD) services in 10 South East Asian countries during this week’s APOS conference in Indonesia. Rival Tencent Video seems to have similar plans, having just launched a service in Thailand just last month.

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